1) It is not surprising that first-ranked China leads Japan by just more than a point, but how they did it is. With a squad comprised mainly of compact tumbler-types, the host team sacrificed its historical edge on pommel horse and ended up winning vault, parallel bars (no shock there) and high bar. China was sixth on pommels, with no score in the 15's. This team is beatable, however, showing plenty of hops and form breaks.
2) Top-ranked Kohei Uchimura had a pretty good day, even by his standards. With scores ranging from 15.166 on pommels to 15.800 on floor, he was the only all-arounder to exceed 15.00 on every apparatus.
3) Speaking of the all-around, pre-meet predictions figured British champion Max Whitlock could make some noise. But a rough outing left him third man on a deep team, behind Daniel Purvis and 2014 European junior champ Nile Wilson. Whitlock probably has the highest scoring potential among the three, but Wilson, in particular, looks like he could be a factor in Rio. He already works with a mature style and tight body. Reminds me a little of a young Ivan Ivankov.
4) The addition of Donnell Whittenburg improved the U.S. men's chances immensely. He qualified fourth for the all-around and also threw a Ri Se Gwang vault for his second attempt. It's higher than Ri's, but he's not consistent enough in landing it. Vitaly Marinich must be having a blast coaching this kid at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
5) Sam Mikulak went three for six in prelims, which is better than going three for six in the all-around final. I wrote him off after day one of the P&G Championships in Pittsburgh, and he stormed back to win the meet, which proves that he's still a factor and that I have a lot to learn. Glad to see him vault his Kasamatsu-double twist again, but he doesn't look comfortable with his new p-bar routine. His Takemoto on high bar also continues to be an issue.
6) Fifth-ranked Russia is bit top heavy in talent, with veteran all-arounders David Belyavsky and Nikolai Kuksenkov, along with super specialist Denis Ablyazin. Look for this team to benefit from the 3-up-3-count Team Finals format, however. But only if it can survive pommels.
7) Good to see the creative David Belyavsky hit well for an impressive 90.748, the second-best total behind Kohei Uchimura's 92.165. Uchimura, who is going for his fifth straight world title, has to know he can't fall more than once and win.
8) Also good to see Colombia's Jossimar Calvo get into the all-around final, even if it's in the 21st slot. His prelim ranking was only 27, but he's got potential, as does fellow South American Sergio Sasaki (Brazil).
9) With all the turmoil in Ukraine since the Sochi Olympics, combined with the departure of Oleg Stepko to Azerbaijan, the men's team just missed the Team Final. Switzerland grabbed the eighth and final berth, which is not a surprise at all. The Swiss have been on that bubble for several years.
10) The Nanning Worlds qualified the top 24 teams to the 2015 Glasgow Worlds, which means 24th-ranked Chinese Taipei's hopes are still alive. Turkey finished 25th, which, of course, is better than last-place Croatia (48th).